Firm that routes SMS for all main US carriers was hacked for 5 years



Getty Photos | d3sign

Syniverse, an organization that routes a whole lot of billions of textual content messages yearly for a whole lot of carriers together with Verizon, T-Cellular, and AT&T, revealed to authorities regulators {that a} hacker gained unauthorized entry to its databases for 5 years. Syniverse and carriers haven’t stated whether or not the hacker had entry to prospects’ textual content messages.
A submitting with the Securities and Trade Fee final week stated that “in Could 2021, Syniverse grew to become conscious of unauthorized entry to its operational and knowledge know-how methods by an unknown particular person or group. Promptly upon Syniverse’s detection of the unauthorized entry, Syniverse launched an inner investigation, notified legislation enforcement, commenced remedial actions and engaged the providers of specialised authorized counsel and different incident response professionals.”
Syniverse stated that its “investigation revealed that the unauthorized entry started in Could 2016” and “that the person or group gained unauthorized entry to databases inside its community on a number of events, and that login info permitting entry to or from its Digital Information Switch (‘EDT’) surroundings was compromised for about 235 of its prospects.”
Syniverse isn’t revealing extra particulars
When contacted by Ars at present, a Syniverse spokesperson supplied a normal assertion that principally repeats what’s within the SEC submitting. Syniverse declined to reply our particular questions on whether or not textual content messages had been uncovered and concerning the influence on the main US carriers.
“Given the confidential nature of our relationship with our prospects and a pending legislation enforcement investigation, we don’t anticipate additional public statements concerning this matter,” Syniverse stated.
The SEC submitting is a preliminary proxy assertion associated to a pending merger with a particular goal acquisition firm that can make Syniverse a publicly traded agency. (The doc was filed by M3-Brigade Acquisition II Corp., the blank-check firm.) As is commonplace with SEC filings, the doc discusses threat elements for buyers, on this case together with the security-related threat elements demonstrated by the Syniverse database hack.

Syniverse routes messages for 300 operators
Syniverse says its intercarrier messaging service processes over 740 billion messages every year for over 300 cellular operators worldwide. Although Syniverse seemingly is not a well-recognized identify to most mobile phone customers, the corporate performs a key function in making certain that textual content messages get to their vacation spot.
We requested AT&T, Verizon, and T-Cellular at present whether or not the hacker had entry to folks’s textual content messages, and we are going to replace this text if we get any new info.
Syniverse’s significance in SMS was highlighted in November 2019 when a server failure precipitated over 168,000 messages to be delivered almost 9 months late. The messages had been in a queue and left undelivered when a server failed on February 14, 2019, and at last reached their recipients in November when the server was reactivated.
Syniverse says it fastened vulnerabilities
Syniverse stated within the SEC submitting and its assertion to Ars that it reset or deactivated the credentials of all EDT prospects, “even when their credentials weren’t impacted by the incident.”
“Syniverse has notified all affected prospects of this unauthorized entry the place contractually required, and Syniverse has concluded that no further motion, together with any buyer notification, is required right now,” the SEC submitting stated. Syniverse instructed us that it additionally “applied substantial further measures to offer elevated safety to our methods and prospects” in response to the incident, however didn’t say what these measures are.
Syniverse is seemingly assured that it has every little thing underneath management however instructed the SEC that it may nonetheless uncover extra issues ensuing from the breach:
Syniverse didn’t observe any proof of intent to disrupt its operations or these of its prospects and there was no try to monetize the unauthorized exercise… Whereas Syniverse believes it has recognized and adequately remediated the vulnerabilities that led to the incidents described above, there could be no assure that Syniverse won’t uncover proof of exfiltration or misuse of its knowledge or IT methods from the Could 2021 Incident, or that it’s going to not expertise a future cyber-attack resulting in such penalties. Any such exfiltration may result in the general public disclosure or misappropriation of buyer knowledge, Syniverse’s commerce secrets and techniques or different mental property, private info of its workers, delicate info of its prospects, suppliers and distributors, or materials monetary and different info associated to its enterprise.


Syniverse’s SEC submitting was submitted on September 27 and mentioned yesterday in an article in Vice’s Motherboard part. In response to Vice, a “former Syniverse worker who labored on the EDT methods” stated these methods include info on all kinds of name data. Vice additionally quoted an worker of a cellphone firm who stated {that a} hacker may have gained entry to the contents of SMS textual content messages.
Vice wrote:
Syniverse repeatedly declined to reply particular questions from Motherboard concerning the scale of the breach and what particular knowledge was affected, however in keeping with an individual who works at a phone service, whoever hacked Syniverse may have had entry to metadata reminiscent of size and value, caller and receiver’s numbers, the situation of the events within the name, in addition to the content material of SMS textual content messages.
“Syniverse is a typical alternate hub for carriers all over the world passing billing data forwards and backwards to one another,” the supply, who requested to stay nameless as they weren’t approved to speak to the press, instructed Motherboard. “So it inevitably carries delicate data like name data, knowledge utilization data, textual content messages, and many others. […] The factor is—I do not know precisely what was being exchanged in that surroundings. One must think about although it simply may very well be buyer data and [personal identifying information] provided that Syniverse exchanges name data and different billing particulars between carriers.”